About a decade ago, music was composed and produced in special studios that were equipped with the latest hardware to record at the highest quality possible. But these days, anyone can compose and produce music on laptops. All they have to do is to find the right mix of specs and find a laptop in their budget.
Here, we are summarizing the top 10 best laptops for music production and recording in the year 2021. You will find Windows and Mac OS laptops with the range of prices you are looking for. You can choose between them by looking at their specs and prices to see if they fit your budget.
Selecting the correct laptop is always tricky. It’s a one-time investment because you can’t upgrade or modify the hardware specs later as you like (it’s limited). Always think about using the same laptop for the next 3-5 years to meet the upcoming new Operating Systems and programs you are going to use. Therefore, allow your budget to expand while purchasing a laptop and buy the best laptop in the category you are looking for.
10 Best Laptops For Music Production
1. New Apple MacBook Pro
The latest model MacBook Pro from Apple. Expensive but extremely powerful for music editing and processing. Based on Apple’s macOS, MacBook Pro provides the highest level of performance needed to compose music without any delay in rendering or production. The base MacBook Pro comes with a 6-Core i7 processor. But by spending around 400 bucks extra, you can get the 8-core i9 processor.
16GB of RAM and 512GB SSD storage is part of both models. It is a GDDR6 memory type to work much faster than you can imagine. SSDs are the fastest storage units available in the markets right now. With this, you can make the whole music composing, recording and editing process a lot quicker and better.
Sporting a 16-inch Retina display, the laptop has a 3072 x 1920 resolution which is more than enough to fit more than one sound mixing software on the screen. Also, the battery backup of the MacBook Pro is said to be 10 hours which gives you plenty of time to create music on the go. Moreover, you will find plenty of free and paid apps from the Apple App Store for audio/music editing and recording, for example, GarageBand is one of them.
This is one of the expensive laptops on this list, but you can’t have any better laptop than MacBook Pro if you are looking for a professional laptop for this purpose. This MacBook Pro has a powerful six-speaker sound system and studio-quality 3-mic array to rivals other third-party microphones. You can easily create podcasts and voice/music recordings with the built-in mic on the go.
The display card Radeon Pro 5300MX with 4GB display RAM adds extra value for this laptop. With music editing and production, if you have an idea for animation or graphic design, this laptop is the all-in-one best choice for you.
MSI GF63 Thin Laptop
With the latest 9th Generation i7 processor, this is the best Windows-based laptop available for music composing and production at a reasonable price from MSI. If you want a machine which can deliver you the highest level of performance under any load and which can do your tasks fast and without any problems, this is the laptop to buy. It comes with a beautiful 15.6 inches Full HD display. Though the Full HD and screen size is not going to make much difference for the music editors, these all features show the power and up-to-date hardware specs in the market.
MSI GF63 features a 9th Gen Core i7 Processor 2.6-4.5 GHz speed, 8GB DDR4 RAM. It comes with a 256GB SSD to give a boost for OS and editing tools. Also, the display card is the latest NVIDIA GTX 1050Ti with dedicated 4GB DDR5 display memory. The high-class configuration can match any music editing or mixing programs on the Windows OS environment. This laptop is suitable for people who will use it in one place without much carrying because of slight heavy. The motherboard can support up to 64GB RAM which can be useful in future use.
3. MacBook Air 13-inch (Latest Model) – Under 1000 Dollars
If you are still looking for a Mac laptop, here is another option around 1000 Dollars to get. Not as powerful as MacBook Pro but people who are on a tight budget but still want the best laptop for music production can opt for the MacBook Air. MacBook Air is best for people who want light and often end up travelling a lot due to the nature of their job. It features a 13.3 Inch display with 2560 x 1600 display resolution. Intel 1.6 GHz Intel dual-core i5 processor (Turbo Boost up to 3.6GHz), 8GB of RAM and 128GB fast SSD storage.
MacBook Air’s battery lasts for up to 12 hours making it ideal for people who don’t have access to a power source all the time. As said earlier, having a Mac laptop sound editing will be an added advantage because of suitable pre-installed and app store apps. With the 2 Thunderbolt (USB-C) type ports, it should give the freedom to connect all types of audio mixers and inputs with MacBook Air.
XPS 13 by Dell
The XPS 13 by Dell comes with a 13.3-inch FHD screen and an Intel Core chip. The laptop is powered by 8GB RAM and a 256GB SSD. It is, therefore, the most powerful 13-inch machine in its category. This model has an 8th generation processor that offers great speed and performance. So, it works wonderfully well for you for music development.
It has four cores, all of which are in a slim form and handle various music software effortlessly. Another advantage you get by using this machine is its durability because Dell has cut it out from a single piece of aluminum. There are no joints and the design is highly inspired by aerospace engineering.
The laptop also features a tiny camera which is one of the smallest by the company. Due to its minute size, the camera fits well inside the bezel. It is Energy-Star certified as well, so you don’t have to worry about energy consumption. The audio quality of this machine is superb and it can produce some high-quality sound that will prove to be very helpful when you are creating your music.
Acer Predator Helios 300 (New Model)
Acer produces some of the best laptops for an unbelievable price, and this model falls into the same category. A Full HD 144Hz IPS 15.6” screen, the latest 9th generation i7 Processor and 2666MHz 16GB RAM make this laptop super powerful for a reasonable price. Several options are available to customize the laptop while purchasing. Specifically made for gaming, but it has all features to fulfil and manage all audio and music editing tasks.
This model comes with a 256GB SSD that allows running any audio mixing software with higher speed without any I/O issues. Also, the additional hard disk socket allows you to expand the storage whenever wanted with another SSD or normal HDD. Surprisingly this laptop comes with dedicated 6GB display RAM. Also, the display card becomes handy if you want to do the video editing as well as on the same laptop.
The Acer TruHarmony and Dolby Audi Premium Plus Sound System are super powerful and useful for music lovers/editors like you. It has a USB 3.1, Gigabit Wi-Fi and all required ports where you can connect to other music equipment and record sound.
6. Surface Pro 7 by Microsoft
The Surface Series by Microsoft has been creating some vibes recently and has been one of the best bets to put your money on. The Pro 7 belongs to this series and features a 12.3-inch touchscreen that is highly intuitive.
The laptop features a 10th generation Intel chip Core i7 backed up by 16GB memory. The latest version of this laptop boasts a 256GB SSD. You get ample space to work with these large music files. The matte black finishing looks great as well and you also get a black-type cover to go with it.
With this machine, you will get the versatility of a tablet and a studio so you can type, draw, play, and create some awesome tunes with it. One of the best features of this laptop is its extreme lightweight so you can carry it around with ease. If creating music on the go is a choice for you, you need to invest in this laptop for sure.
The gadget also provides you with several connectivity options to share your large files securely across different platforms with other devices. It comes with a port for USB-A and USB-C to connect with other displays. Accessory charging is made easy and it also features very fast Wi-Fi and Bluetooth capabilities.
Zenbook 15 by Asus
Whether you are into creating music or drawing, this is a machine that you need to own. The ultra-slim laptop boasts a large 15.6-inch screen that has FHD features. This screen features a NanoEdge bezel that is very thin and gives the laptop its sleek and stylish look.
It also has a Core i7 chip fully backed up by 16GB RAM and a 1TB SSD PCIe. Hence, it can handle heavy music creating software and programs with ease. There is a GTX GeForce 1650 graphics card installed in this machine so you can smoothly create your music video without any pain.
Another feature that sets it apart from other machines on the market is its Innovative Screenpad. With this screen pad, you can easily control everything without using the keyboard. All the controls are in one place waiting for your one tap only. Playing your music back and forth and going through different tunes using this screen pad is a breeze.
The machine comes with Windows 10 Pro version so all the latest applications and programs associated with music and video creation are easily accessible. It also has an IR camera to recognize you by face and integrate Windows Hello. There are several connectivity options like HDMI, USB Type C, Wi-Fi 6 (802. 11ax), Bluetooth 5. 0 and an SD card reader is available too.
Microsoft Surface Laptop 3
If you are a DJ who has to travel around the world playing your beautiful music for crowds, you need to have a lightweight and sturdy machine that is fast and capable. This Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 is merely 2.76 pounds and has a screen size of 13.5-inches. The maximum resolution can be set at 2256 by 1504 pixels. The only colour option this laptop comes in is Platinum which gives the laptop a sleek and minimalistic look.
The Surface 3 laptop by Microsoft comes with a 13.5-inch touchscreen and a Core i5 chip by Intel. Powered by 8GB memory and a 256GB SSD this laptop is a good choice for an entry-level music-producing machine. You can upgrade to 16GB RAM and 512GB SSD or a 1TB SSD if you have a rough budget to inject. But the entry-level laptop is good enough to meet most of your needs as a music producer.
It has a very elegant design and pretty lightweight as well, so carrying it around won’t be a problem for you. With improved performance and speed, it can handle most of the latest music creation programs and software, as it is powered by the latest processors. If you have owned a Surface 2 before; this laptop is two times faster than its predecessor.
Connectivity is not an issue with this laptop as you can connect it with other displays using USB-C and USB-A. With these ports, you can also connect with other docking stations and accessory charging becomes simple. It can provide you with a battery time of eleven and a half hours so you can comfortably create your tunes without having to recharge it again and again.
9. ASUS ROG STRIX Scar II
We can’t have a list of laptops without including multiple Asus laptops. Their superior build quality and hardware specification make the Asus one of the best laptop brands. If you are not familiar with macOS, then you can think about this laptop as the best choice. It has a powerful 8th Generation Intel Core i7 Hexa-Core processor that can do all music/audio mixing easily with its 16GB RAM and 512GB SSD.
If you are looking for a suitable laptop for music recording and gaming, this laptop is for you. The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 gaming graphics card with 8GB dedicated VRAM is super enough for gaming too. This laptop may look expensive compared to other models, but worth considering as it is packed with the maximum configuration you can get on a laptop. Asus has taken extra care on the cooling system that allows you to do give more stress on this laptop for a long time without any heating issues. It keeps the laptop cool and increases processing power.
10. Blade 15 by Razor
Razer is one of the best gaming laptop brands you can find in the market. Its hardware specification may match the requirement to be on this list. As one of the expensive laptops on this list, but it provides an impressive hardware configuration.
The Razer Blade 15” comes with the 8th Generation 6 Core i7 processor, 16GB DDR4 RAM to handle any load of sound editing or production software and 512GB SSD for quick I/O. As it is built for gaming, you get the 6GB GDDR5 NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070.
The faster sound card supports the editing process very well. Also, it comes with FL Studio 12 producer edition on it to cater to the music editing requirement on a Windows laptop.
Factors to consider before buying a music production laptop
When you are in search of a machine for music production there are some important points that you must keep in mind. In this guide, we are going to highlight some of them for your consideration.
The most important point to keep in mind when buying a machine for music production is the DAW or digital audio workstation that you use to create your music. It is software with which you can do all kinds of stuff with your music files. Therefore, you need to check whether your DAW runs on Windows or Mac. Can you easily work on it with a smaller or a larger screen? Will it use more CPU or memory? All these things need to be considered before you finalize your decision.
Of course, with DAW compatibility comes the operating system. Choosing an OS is highly subjective. Some people like to work on Mac while others prefer Windows. You just need to make sure your OS runs the software you are using for music generation. Some programs only work on a single OS while others work on multiple. So decide according to your preferences and requirements.
When working with your digital audio workstation, you have to deal with multiple audio plugins as well. You might already have several plugins in your mind that you would prefer.
Therefore, you have to consider them as well. If these plugins are graphics-heavy, you will need a powerful processor with high memory. Some plugins need more power from your system and the benefit of using them is to get better audio results. If this is your priority, you must choose a machine that can handle such plugins effortlessly.
If you prefer to work with a range of different plugins for better signal chains, you like to work a lot on mixing. Even if you don’t use more plugins to create your music, that’s fine. It’s just a matter of how detailed you want your final product to be and how do you like it to sound.
If you like to work with a variety of audio tracks and mix them to create a final tune, you will need better processing power that can handle the mixing at an advanced level. Otherwise, an entry-level machine can work for you as well if you don’t use too many plugins. It will also allow you to be a lot more vigilant about your future projects. If they need your files to have more mixing of different plugins, you will need better processing power.
The size of the space you are using to create your audio matters a lot too. The machine needs to be able to produce powerful sound or needs to have enough connectivity options. You can explore and create a sound that works well in your space. Are you going to work in a professional studio or inside your bedroom? Choose a machine that goes well with the space you are working in.
Find out more about the hardware requirements to have music production software on a laptop below video.
Frequently Asked Questsions
You can consider three things. Ample memory, a quad-core for speed for better performance and a touch screen that will enable you to move around on the screen conveniently without the hassle of using a mouse or even carrying an additional accessory.MS Surface Laptop 2 has a solid Intel UHD Graphic 620 card, 8 GB LPDDR3 RAM and a 3:2 aspect, 10-point multi-touch, convenient 13.5-inch screen. It also has 256GB SSD storage. All these specifications are perfect for music production.
Lenovo ThinkPad T460 is one of the best laptops money can buy for music editing and DJing. With a 3GHz Turbo Boost and dual-core processor and 8GB RAM, this machine gives you the best results when you are in the middle of a session of editing, producing music or DJing.In addition to this, a 14-inch screen and HD resolution display provide you with enough space for tabs and tools to move back and forth. This laptop also has a large variety of ports that come in handy for plugging in different types of equipment. They include 3 3.0 USB ports, an SD card slot, Ethernet, HDMI, and mini-DisplayPort.
256 GB SSD memory space is large enough to hold software used for music editing as well and some virtual instruments that you use. Depending on the amount of memory each song takes, 256 GBs is enough for you for a while. If you plan to have large music libraries then it is recommended that you also carry an additional hard drive.
It is usually recommended that people mustn’t spend too much money on installing beyond 32GB RAM. An 8 GB RAM is enough in this case. It is best to spend money on accessories like video cards, plug-ins, and the CPU. There are extra slots available inside the laptop, so if ever you feel the need of upgrading the RAM you may do it easily.
Razer laptop series is recommended for gaming but they also have the correct specifications when it comes to our scope. They use high-quality NVIDIA graphic cards and have 16 GB RAM. The space in the hard drive is never-ending 2 TB. The processor is the best one of its generation i.e. i7. With touch screen options these are the best specifications you can get at a reasonable price.
So there you have it, a small review of the best laptops for music production/recording ranging from Windows 10 to macOS. Though you can find plenty of laptops on Amazon with high specifications and the latest hardware, they are definitely going to cost more. We have combined and selected a range of models for all kinds of budgets you are looking for.
Making this list involved reading the reviews on the internet, personalized user experiences and also some knowledge about the exclusive features available on each laptop. So, go ahead and pick one for yourself.
Dinesh is the founder of Sysprobs and written more than 400 articles. Enthusiast in Microsoft and cloud technologies with more than 15 years of IT experience.
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Which Laptop out of the list mentioned here provides good battery backup and has low heating issues?
I’m a music producer and recently needed to buy a laptop for performance purposes. I picked up an ASUS X550ZA on newegg.com as an open box deal for $365 (reg. $525). It has a 2.5ghz quad-core AMD A10-7400P and 8GB of RAM and 1TB HD, better specs than the ASUS laptop listed above. So far I’ve had zero problems, it runs both music apps and games wonderfully, and the frame stays extremely cool even under the most extreme stress – becoming warm, but never uncomfortably so. In contrast to metal-bodied laptops with poorer ventilation such as the macbook pro (which I have also owned, and can cause first degree burns if you aren’t careful – not to mention this laptop has comparable if not superior specs to the late 2011 MBP I bought for $1800 when it was new). I still use a 2x quad-core xeon mac pro tower for production, but ever since some serious problems with apple’s customer service effectively stealing from me (logicboard replaced under applecare with an inferior model whose serial # matched the defective logicboard which had been removed from an older laptop I had brought in a year and a half earlier, RAM upgrade I paid for and installed myself was removed) I have been shying away from apple products in general. The core audio chipset is nearly the only advantage anymore, and any serious music producer is willing to invest in a decent external soundcard and audio interface anyway (especially if they’re saving hundreds of dollars by not paying apple’s markup).
I picked up a Apple MBP and returned it after 1 day use. Getting very hot pluss noisy cooling.
Hello Phytophile,I need your advice because I have the money to invest in good solid equipment for recording and had been willing to purchase Mac until now.Have you found any limitations in using the ASUS X550ZA and if so how have you compensated? How much RAM did you install, 1T or more? Are you using Pro-Tools and if not what is your choice of preference? Do you have a website – sorry for all the questions I just need guidance cause there’s nothing worse than spending hard earned money on something you think you can count on only to find its not what you thought it was.Thanks for all your helpResto
Basically, if you have to use it that’s fine but you should know that the workload is of mixing and mastering is high not the production if you are gonna use it for abelton or fl studio that’s okay but being a musician you should know that when it comes to pro tools or Cubase they need plenty of space to work with 8 GB R.A.M is enough but make sure you get 1TB SSD not HDD cause if you don’t do it so you have to face a bit lag.
There are Lenovo laptops out there that will blow that MacBook Pro out of the water. I know. I own one.
@ToxikratHey there. Could you recommend a Lenovo laptop? I want to run Bitwig and maybe Traktor as well. Thanks!
@ToxikratHiii…What Asus laptop will u recommend me???I make music with FL Studio with lots of Vsts other than the once that are preloaded in FL.Thanx In Advance…
I have a low budget for music production for now until I can build a better income. But what is the cheapest and most reliable laptop that I can get with at least 8 GB DDR3?
I want to do a pre recording for a radio program. Any advice on laptop and software to start with. Best quality and affordable. Thanks
Glad to see you didn’t recommend any Acer laptops – the computers themselves are alright, but Acer’s laptop keyboards are JUNK! And since you can’t just use a third party keyboard with a laptop, that’s a pretty good reason to stay away from them imo.
He did recommend an Acer, and you can use a third party keyboard with any laptop.
keyboard being about the very last thing I’d be concerned with when looking for a laptop for music production. and who told you that you can’t plug a 3rd party keyboard in?
I hv 40000 rupee. So which laptop is best in this price for music production??
Who cares about the processor? It will be quite hard to use up any of these. Why is there no word about I/O? Especially USB. Extra Keyboard / external Soundcard and a synth and you already need 3 USB Ports. Not every machine has this. Instead you show me 1366×768 displays. How do you plan to fit your DAW + 450 extra windows in there? That will be quite inconvenient. Maybe these are ok for some recording on the go but then you really cover a lot of different usecases here. Dunno.
I am a dj,I have been in the music business for over 20 and for the last 5 years I have been reading almost every where when someone says or ask about a good pc,laptop on any OS with a good sound card or just good quality sound and most of computer or high tech experts metion or change the subject to the video card, retina etc whatever else related with graphics, and I still dont get why metion the display ,if I don’t find any relation between a good sound card with the graphics,could someone explain that THE RELATION BETWEEN A GOOD SOUND QUALITY PC,LAPTOP ETC WITH THE VIDEO CARD OR GRAPHICS thanksPsd I personal disagree with the idea that you ,yes you computer expert always mention the display or video card
Graphics cards are not just for processing graphics. They are exceptionally useful for a variety of applications – I use them for neural networking in my research, which is nothing to do with video, and I use cards that have no graphical output ports (Tesla K80s). They are very useful for mass-parallelisation, on large numbers of cores, which has applications in certain areas of sound production.
Next is the fact that integrated graphics will consume some of your CPU time, so that your sound processing will take longer and can introduce lags if you’re trying to play live whilst making heavy use of multiple DAW interfaces.
And finally, the display is important for the user. Those interfaces can get very messy, especially you’re in the final brushing up stages. You want a large screen and high resolution if you’re not going to want some of your controls hidden five windows back from the front.
I can’t believe lenovo isn’t mentioned here, much better than mac hardware and better options for SSDs
what about them laptops by Razer? How do they compare to the rest?
Maybe I missed it but I don’t see this article mention the importance of a PCI expresscard slot if your interface is firewire. The only other option if it doesn’t have one is if the laptop has a thunderbolt port, then you have to use a thunderbolt to firewire adaptor for it to work.
can’t see how anything with an i5 can possibly be considered the #1 laptop for music production in 2017. I can already hear the stuttering after I add a third VST track.